Tuesday 16th February 2021

'Stepping stone' apartments move step closer

 Work is progressing well on construction of 11 new ‘stepping stone apartments’ specially laid out and equipped for people with various levels of learning difficulties on a site at Dartington.

This project, Phase 5 of our Brimhay development scheme, is a collaboration with Devon County Council and South Hams District Council.

Collaboration with the two councils started early in the design process, to ensure that the architect’s specification best matches the needs of the new occupants.

The 11 apartments are funded by a £400,000 grant from Homes England, long-term loan finance, and the surplus from selling 12 market-value homes also being built on the Brimhay Gardens site, which will be gift-aided back to SDR by our development arm, Rural Homes Ltd.

Good progress

Digging foundations for the 11 new flats began in March, but was halted due to the pandemic. Work re-started after the first lockdown ended and we are now hopeful of completion this summer.

Builders are observing strict Covid safety measures but have been able to make good progress despite a short delay in delivery of bespoke window frames.

Everything from the layout of the building, to ease of access and suitability for a range of mobility issues, has been covered with the help of Devon County Council’s Locality Team. This includes wider doorways and reinforced weight-bearing for hoists and mobility aids.

SDR is now working with the two councils to identify potential tenants. Many have previously lived with their families and so have limited experience of living independently.


The new tenants will continue to be supported by their care teams. All will be supported to increase their independence where possible and progress to more standard accommodation, whilst others might need greater levels of support.

Chief Executive Christine Candlish said: “These apartments are a stepping stone for people with learning difficulties. For many, this will be the first taste of independent living, away from families – a chance to develop and grow in confidence.

“This is the latest example of our ambition to deliver genuinely affordable housing in South Devon for a range of clients with differing needs”.